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tv   Sen. Jeff Flake R-AZ in New Hampshire  CSPAN  October 1, 2018 11:46pm-12:21am EDT

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historian joanne friedman on her book "the field of blood." >> you have scores of congressman in a mass ball. guys are throwing punches and spittoons. it was a massive encounter. what was really interesting to me was people at the time looked at it, what they saw was a group of northerners and a group of southerners, lots of them armed, the running at each other in the house of representatives. they said this does not look like a normal congressional fight. this looks like north against south. this looks like a battle. that was really striking. indeed, it looked like a battle come and it's not long before the civil war. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> next, remarks by arizona
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senator jeff flake. he spoke in manchester, new hampshire. this is 40 minutes. >> good evening. my name is anthony, and i'm a student ambassador. on behalf of the faculty, staff, and students at the students of new hampshire, i would like to welcome you and thank you for joining us for tonight's event with united states senator jeff flake. the mission of the institute is to educate, engage, empower citizens of all ages to actively participate in the civic and political life of their communities and to strengthen democracy. the institute is nonpartisan and does not endorse political issues or candidates. ladies and gentlemen, i ask you to welcome dr. stephen disalvo, the president of the college. >> thank you, anthony.
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good evening and welcome to the new hampshire institute of politics. it is great to have everybody here again. as many of you know, new hampshire has a long tradition of political and civic engagement. we are always very happy to take part in this process. it is my pleasure tonight to welcome united states senator jeff flake from arizona. senator flake was first elected to the senate in 2013 and previously served six terms in the house of representatives. as a member of the united states senate, he sits on the energy and natural resources committee, before and relations committee, and the judiciary committee. -- the foreign relations committee, and the judiciary committee. that she authored a book described by the new york times and others is a thoughtful
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defense of traditional .onservatism prior to entering politics, the senator served as the executive director of the milbourne institute, where he promoted the conservative philosophy of less government, more freedom, and individual responsibility. senator flake is a dual graduate of brigham young university where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees. he and his wife live in mesa, arizona, and have five children. we're very glad that the senator can be here tonight given how busy his last two days, few hours and few minutes have been. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming senator jeff flake. [applause] sen. flake: thank you.
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thank you all. thank you for having me here. thank you to all of you for being here. it is great to be in new hampshire again with my wife, cheryl. i have always heard that it is a safe place, populated by common -- by calm, reasonable people. i'm counting on this today. you have no idea. i only regret that there is a not much to talk about right now. seriously, to be clear, when i titled this speech "after the deluge," i meant it metaphorically. i did not count on an actual
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deluge. a teachable moment, be careful what you title things. it makes them happen. use your words responsibly. when i first started thinking about this speech and how to frame it, i thought about calling it what happened to ronald reagan's party. his party was once brimming with ideas, principles. it was coherent and inspiring and idealistic. so much so that it awakened the imagination of a kid from snowflake, arizona, and whole generation of other kids just like him. it made us think big thoughts of our place in the world and of what it meant to be american in america, the shining city on a hill. reagan's vision of america as the indispensable nation was benevolent and bighearted. a beacon to the
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striver and the oppressed. and those locked behind the wall of the world into the free and the oppressed. it was morning in reagan's america. it wasn't perfect but always getting better. it wasn't endless bounty. but by grace and grit, there was enough for everybody. we were the sum of our goodness, not our gripes. our resolve, not a resentment. we knew where the buck stopped. now you can't find that poor buck. it is out there searching for anybody to claim responsibility. president reagan, even during his most partisan battles, both comported himself with
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dignity and afforded his opponents the respect he felt for them. even during his most partisan battles, he accorded himself with dignity and afforded his opponents. let's return. we have to be honest about this. by resisting the impulse to find stalking horses for the damage we are inflicting. what is it that the kids say? when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you. even the wisdom of the playground is somehow lost on washington these days. governing is hard. democracy is hard. decency should not be that hard. it apparently is. do you know what is easy? being callous, being a demagogue, the politics of vengeance. that's easy.
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dehumanization requires little talent. by raging at each other with our minds vacant of reason and reeling with ill will and conspiracy theories, we republicans have given in to the terrible tribal impulse that mistakes our opponents for our enemies. we become seized with the conviction that we must destroy that enemy, seemingly oblivious to the fact that not only are we not enemies, we are each vital organs in the same body. it is as if in order to save ourselves, our brains decide to destroy our hearts. that is about the level of care that we are bringing to the proceedings. that is how smart we seem to be right now. we are harming ourselves without regard to who else we might take down with us.
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or what institutions we plunder. there is a sickness in our system. we have infected the whole country with it. that was just last week. last week, on the day before the senate judiciary committee was to meet and hear the testimony of brett kavanaugh and dr. ford, i gave a speech exhorting my colleagues to listen to the testimony with open minds that we were about to hear. to resist the impulse to strip dr. ford and judge kavanaugh of their humanity and turn them into props for our politics. it is a symptom of our disease that such a modest plea was met with anger from both sides. like dipping a toe into a pool of pirahnas.
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like puranas are dangerous killing sheens, so to our ideologues. the left was enraged because i had failed to behave exactly as they wanted. they wanted me to prejudice testimony against kavanaugh. the right was enraged because i failed to have prejudice the testimony against christine ford. i failed my tribe. i had been doing that for some time. by the ways we measure political success, by the convention of how party loyalists are supposed to behave, i hope to continue to fail my tribe. [applause] i would encourage us all to take the same risk across the spectrum. step out of your tribe. do something hard and start a dialogue that you may have never started before.
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something that our current tribal rules don't allow. from personal experience, i can attest that it is never too late to leave the tribe. from self-styled tough guy politicians, bipartisanship has become a mushy word. it isn't satisfying to people who have to have their way the two-year-olds must have their way. no offense to two-year-olds. they don't have elected office. anyone who studies history knows we have been at our best as a country when we have been -- we have been our most prosperous and most principled, we did the hard work that our constitutional system was designed to do and we have compromised. throughout our history, consequential moments have gone
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in search of statesmen and stateswomen. to our good fortune, these moments have almost always found them. our country itself was a compromise and our system of representative democracy would not exist but for one of the most grand compromises of all-time. but we are not always at our best. anyone who studies history knows that ours is a country that has come apart at the seams once due to tribalism. our country was once almost dissolved over differences. there are some days in washington where it feels we are lurching toward this again. yet the united states has become the most successful and principled and generous civilizations ever known. america became unique in the
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history of nations not in spite of our differences but because of them. the accommodation of differences is what democracy is and does. but that is a lesson we forget and relearn on more or less a constant basis. when we divide ourselves into shirts and skins and relish the perverse satisfactions of destructive, partisan tribalism, we don't do as well. my message here today is that tribalism is ruining us and tearing our country apart. it's no way for sane adults to act. most importantly, ultimately, the only tribe to which any of us owes allegiance is the american tribe. [applause] sen. flake: the only way we will chart a course out of our present disaster is by
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resolutely failing the tribes we have fallen into, the tribes that have separated us as americans and turned us against each other. by rejecting the binary model of democracy and doing things differently than we have done them in the past. by partnering with our opponents, appreciating the goodness in them. by choosing a different path than the path of bitter partisan advantage and the dopamine rush of scoring cheap political points. when i last had the privilege of speaking here, i framed my talk around the refrain "we will get through this." i went on to describe a future thisd this moment, beyond presidency, a future in which we repair the damage of this period and one in which we re-strengthen the foundation of our politics so that we will
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never succumb to the base and tribal impulses again. but before we get there, we must navigate our way out of here. in order to see the future, we must understand the past and see how it led us here. our current crisis has many fathers. but my generation has done its fair share to refine this brand of poisonous politics. in my time in congress, i have seen this deterioration of close. 2011, just a few days after democratic congresswoman debbie giffords was shot and gravely wounded as she greeted constituents outside of a tucson supermarket, we in the arizona congressional delegation left an mdc for her in that years -- left an empty seat for her in that year's state of the union address. the delegation made a point to
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sit together in solidarity rather than divide along party lines as the rest of the chamber typically does during that speech. one year later, when gabby, who was working very hard at rehabilitation, returned to congress, i sat next to her during the state of the union address. during president obama's applause lines, gabby wanted to stand up but was unable to do so on her own, so i helped her up. that left me standing -- [laughter] sen. flake: the lone republican in a sea of cheering democrats. [applause] sen. flake: during and after the president's address, i received furious text messages from and emails from partisans who wanted to know why i agreed with president obama. while i like and respect president obama very much, i disagreed with a lot of that speech. but gabby gifford was my friend,
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and it was my honor to help her that night. it was a gesture of affection for a cherished and brave colleague. i had not given it much more thought. it certainly didn't occur to me that i should worry about what other republicans might think. because life is too short to worry about things like that. , we were nott members of political parties, we were friends, fellow arizonans, fellow americans, fellow human beings. and yet, all that some people could see was that i was somehow consorting with the enemy. much the same happened in the late summer of 2016, on that day when my democratic colleagues from virginia, tim kaine, was selected and added to the democratic ticket as a vice presidential nominee. tim and i entered the senate together. we obviously disagree on many things, but i know him to be an exceptionally smart,
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hard-working, and patriotic senator. by way of congratulating tim on being named to the democratic ticket, i tweeted a playful jab. now trying to count the ways i hate tim kaine -- drawing a blank. congrats to a good man and a good friend. once again, there was remarkable, unhinged fury from the ideologues. at a political gathering not long afterwards, i received a scolding from a diehard republican, who felt i was, again, aiding and abetting the enemy. if you can't say anything bad, he said, don't -- and he caught himself before fully reversing the advice, i am sure, that his mother always gave him. such is the conditioned response of shattered politics. six years after congresswoman gabby giffords was shot, i found myself in an eerily familiar
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setting, a hospital waiting room, listening as doctors described the critical condition of another colleague, congressman steve scalise. who was fighting for his life after receiving a large caliber gunshot wound to the hip. four other victims were being treated for gunshot wounds on other floors and at different hospitals. it was early in the morning of june 2017. this one hit even closer to home. we had all been practicing for one of the rare moments of stability in washington, the congressional baseball game, when a crazed gunman opened fire. arriving back at the capital daze, imorning in a navigated my way across the marble floor of the russell building to the senate gym in my steel baseball cleats. because my gear was still in the
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dugout, which by then was a crime scene. i changed out of my uniform, the red stains on my pant leg and my bloodsoaked batting glove, which was used to apply pressure to -- reminded me of how fortunate i was. to discover later that the motive had been political was shocking. the gunman looked out on the ball field and saw something other than a couple dozen middle-aged men playing baseball. he saw the enemy. it seems elementary to have to form this thought, much less speak these words. but here we are. i am a proud conservative and lifelong republican. that does not make democrats my enemies. america has too many real enemies to indulge such nonsense. we ill serve our constituents
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when our tribal impulses take over and we cease to have a human response to each other. when we have governed best, we comity and consensus. we fight and argue vigorously for our positions and principles , but with understanding that politics that endure are always with the imprint from both sides. that is when america is at her best. if it sounds like i am calling for new politics, it is because i am. we simply cannot go on this way. there is a fellow down in texas, a very funny guy, very liberal, a guy from a generation when texas had not banned democrats. [laughter] sen. flake: his name is jim hightower. hightower had a stock saying that went -- the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos.
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like i said, he was a funny guy. but with all due respect to mr. hightower and those for armadillos -- those for armadillos, i want to make clear that what i am talking about is not abandonment of conviction and deference to some kind of soft middle-of-the-road-ism. i am not talking about surrendering believes or putting a finger to the wind to find out what your deeply held convictions are today or what they might be tomorrow. i am a conservative republican, and that is borne out by any objective measure or grading system that exists. my friend chris coons, the senator from delaware, is a liberal democrat. incidentally, when i say that senator kunz is my friend, i don't mean it in a syrupy way that people call each other my dear friend in washington while gouging each other's eyes out. chris is my dear friend. i am grateful to know him. we are friends because we have worked together, and we have
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worked together because the constitutional framework that created our government in genius makes ingeniously governing hard and compromise inevitable, if we are doing it right. it makes me have to consider what is best for the people of delaware, just as it makes chris responsive to what is best for the people of arizona. and it is when we try and avoid compromise and take partisan advantage and do things because we have the numbers, especially when we are as terribly and closely divided as we are now, that we begin to do serious damage to the country. i don't want to get too much into it here, but the compromise that chris and i struck on friday is one that i take seriously. and we did it because fairness required us to do it. and we did it because in that
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tribalismr impulse to was tearing the country apart. in order for the results we come to to make sense for the country, we all have to have a process that we can have faith in. i, for one, am waiting for the additional information that will come from the supplemental fbi investigation, to inform my decision on judge kavanaugh's nomination. for the past year, i have been speaking about the condition of our democracy, because my conscience has required me to do it. our institutions have been under assault. the independence of our justice system has been threatened. our doctrine of separation of powers has been tested like seldom before. and the stability of the world has been an open question as the ends the post of world war order that we created
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and that has kept us safe for more than 70 years. i didn't go to washington expecting to have to defend the basic institutions of american liberty. i didn't expect to find myself in vain against the president of the united states, especially the president of my own party. i went to washington to reduce the size and scope of government. and the reach of washington's sometimes suffocating effect on the american economy. to reduce taxes and regulation, to unleash the full potential and great societal benefit of american capitalism. i went to washington to work on expanding america's markets through vigorous free-trade and to see that we had a robust, secure, and welcoming immigration policy. i went to washington to challenge my ideological opposites, to learn from them, to make friends, and to
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compromise when necessary for the common good. because none of our problems can be solved by just one party, by just one tribe. the kind of thinking -- that kind of thinking is a recipe for our current disaster. it has unleashed all of our worst impulses. and has brought us to the brink. and until we solve the problem of our politics and stop warring with each other and imperiling our democracy, the issues i went to washington to work on will be impossible to address. we have got to make it so that indulgence and tribalism at the expense of what is good for the country will be punished at the ballot box. we must change our political culture. so that when you come to destroy and not to build, you will pay a political price. and we have got to reward compromise again, because compromise is the rock upon which we were founded.
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if you want to make america great as an elected official, be humble, conduct yourself in good faith, and when necessary, compromise to find solutions. if the past week has taught me anything, it is that this country is hungry for us to work together again on their behalf. just a few hours ago, i was interviewed in boston before a crowd of a few thousand people at the force 30 under 30 event. the moderator joked that sometimes it looks like i am a man without a country. the truth is, i sometimes feel i am a man temporarily without a party. but i have got a country, thank you. the same wonderful country i have always had. it is that same country that makes me think whenever i travel overseas and come back again, of
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the poem by the 19th century poet henry vandyke. i will close with this. he wrote, "it is fine to see the old world and travel up and down, among the shining palaces and cities of renown. to admire the crumbling castles and the statues of the kings. but now i think i've had enough of antiquated things. [laughter] flake:" so it is home again and home again, america for me. i want the ship that is westward bound to plow the rolling sea. to the blessed land of room enough beyond the ocean bars, where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars." may we always remember that in this blessed land of room enough, there is room enough for
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all of us, regardless of your political party. thank you, saint anselm, and all of you for being here. i am grateful for your invitation. [applause] >> thank you all for coming. have a great evening, safe home.
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announcer: with the control of congress in question, see the competition for yourself on c-span. watch the debates from key house and senate races. make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. announcer: c-span's washington journal's live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, we are live in columbus, ohio, for the next stop on the c-span bus 50 capitals or with ohio senate president about top issues facing that state. then robert wiseman looks at legal action against president trump on the constitution's foreign emoluments clause. kate ackley on pack and super pac spending in the 2018 election. join the discussion on c-span's "washington journal," live at
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7:00 eastern tuesday morning. announcer: live tuesday on the c-span networks -- at 10:00 a.m. eastern, the atlantic festival features a conversation with senators chris coons of delaware and jeff flake of arizona. at 1:15, aei hears from jamie dimon, chairman and ceo of j.p. morgan chase. we rejoined the atlantic festival at 2:00 p.m. for interviews with hillary clinton, national constitution center president and ceo jeffrey rosen, and former new jersey governor chris christie. on c-span2, the senate continues its consideration of judge brett kavanaugh's nomination to the supreme court. c-span3 a.m. eastern on , the senate finance committee holds a confirmation hearing for the next social security commissioner. at 1:00 p.m., the national press club here is the director general of al jazeera.
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announcer: on constitution day, c-span visited the national constitution center in philadelphia, where we asked folks, what does it mean to be american? when you feel like you are at home, you feel like you are comfortable to live here. >> for me, what it meant was that i was blessed to have been born in a country -- one of the countries with the most freedom for people, for all people, to pursue happiness and life and living. family and a >> freedom, to pursue your dreams and opportunities. friendship, getting along with everybody here in america.
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i don't know, family and love. >> simply doing your , both civicties and family and everything like that. as a daughter of service members, as a service member myself -- a former service member -- i felt it was my responsibility under the constitution to do my duty and service country. >> the freedom to pursue your to pursueand anything. i have been able to be whatever i wanted to be and do what i want for a living. where i come from, this would not be possible. announcer: this year for studentcam, we are asking middle and high school students to six minute documentary answering the question, what does it mean to be an american? in totalrking $100,000
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prizes, including a grand prize of $5,000. what does it mean to be american ? the deadline is january 20. for more information, go to our website, announcer: next, the pennsylvania governor's debate between governor tom wolfe and his republican challenger, scott wagner. the debate courtesy of the pennsylvania cable network is being moderated by jeopardy host alex trebek. from hershey, pennsylvania, this is an hour. back.i'm chamberas asked by the if i would come here and be the , ierator for this event accepted immediately. did not give it a second thought.


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